What inspired you to enter the field of education?

I believe that education provides an opportunity to positively impact the lives of students. By helping them grow, one can shape their futures and contribute to society. Society has given so much to me now it is my turn to contribute to society.

What was the idea behind starting Shardayatan School?

Shardayatan School, founded in 1987, aims to provide quality education to children in rural areas with limited opportunities. It empowers community children by incorporating local traditions, language, and values into the curriculum, fostering a connection to roots and a broader perspective.

Could you tell us about the pedagogy followed at your school?

We follow pedagogies like Student-Centered learning, which emphasizes active student involvement, engagement, and self-directed learning, focusing on interests, needs, and abilities. Infrastructural facilities, like sports domes and robotics workshops, are provided at minimal fees for student development. Technology-Enhanced Learning integrates educational technologies, such as interactive tools and multimedia, to improve engagement, collaboration, and resource access.

What was the major challenge in regulating virtual classrooms?

During the pandemic, regulating virtual classrooms faced challenges in ensuring equitable access to education for all students. Unequal technology and internet connectivity hindered access, especially for students from remote areas. Assessing learning and academic integrity was challenging, requiring alternative assessment methods like online quizzes, projects, or video presentations.

Do you implement special training programmes for your teachers to ensure the inclusivity of your students?

Implemented various training programs, including cultural competency, inclusive practices, self-defense, menstruation awareness, N.C.C., sex education, AIDS awareness, and cyber crime seminars.

What are the awards and accolades your school has won over the years?

1. Best Clean School of Surat Award

2. Best School of Gujarat

3. Best School of India

Which aspect of education was prioritized by educators once school reopened?

Prioritizing students, teachers, and staff's health and safety was crucial during the closure, with robust health protocols and monitoring. Challenges like isolation, anxiety, and emotional distress were addressed thanks to hardworking and sensible teachers.

How are you ensuring the mental well-being of the students and staff?

Prioritizing mental health support for students and staff is vital. Schools offered resources, workshops, and awareness programmes that addressed mental health concerns, provided counseling, promoted self-care, and provided strategies for coping with stress and anxiety.

Do you think some teachers and students have become too comfortable with virtual schooling? How are you gearing them up for physical classes?

Students were more comfortable with virtual schooling and hesitant to attend physical classes after school reopened. Teachers were more enthusiastic about starting physical classes. A phased approach, gradually increasing physical classes, and patience and flexibility were crucial during the transition.

What were the obstacles you faced at the beginning of your journey, and did you strive to overcome them?

Starting Shardayatan School we faced challenges such as licenses, permits, financial needs, and staffing issues. Despite these obstacles, the school's management and administrative teams worked together to overcome them. The school's strong sense of family and family-like atmosphere helped overcome shortfalls and problems.

What are some of the lessons for the education sector after the teaching-learning process went digital?

According to my viewpoint, the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technology in education, emphasizing the need for effective integration of tools and platforms. Educators have learned to leverage digital resources, online collaboration tools, and learning management systems to enhance instruction and student engagement. This shift has emphasized adaptability and flexibility in education, prompting rethinking traditional practices, investing in technological infrastructure, prioritizing digital skill development, and ensuring equitable access.

How important do you think it is for Indian schools to incorporate technology at a faster pace?

In my opinion, incorporating technology in Indian schools is crucial for digital literacy, global competitiveness, access to information, personalized learning, teaching practices, remote learning, and future readiness.

If there is one change you could bring about in the Indian Education System, what would it be?

The Indian education system could benefit from a holistic, skill-oriented approach, emphasizing 21st-century skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, creativity, collaboration, and digital literacy. Encouraging experiential learning, such as project-based learning, field trips, and internships, would equip students with the necessary skills for the evolving job market.